FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. – Specker Gym’s new functional fitness room is open, offering customers a variety of new equipment to improve both cardio and strength while giving Soldiers specific tools to prepare on the Army Combat Fitness Test.
Officials held a groundbreaking ceremony on May 24 for the new 2,400-square-foot training space, the result of an 18-month, $ 1.5 million renovation project.
“At this point Specker now offers literally any type (workout) you have, be it weightlifting, cardiovascular, now the icing on the cake is functional fitness – you have it. everything you need, ”said Jeffrey Barrett, Family and Morale, Sports, Fitness and Watersports Wellness and Recreation Manager.
The new equipment includes several weightlifting racks, including two multi-purpose racks that can alternatively be used for squats and bench presses. Customers can also choose to train using full sets of free weights, kettlebells, heavy ropes, medicine balls, stability balls and a long strip of grass to pull weights on sleds, carts and more.
“We have a full preparation area for the military’s combat aptitude tests,” said Kirstan Carpenter, facilities manager at Specker Gym. “In fact, the whole room was designed with the intention of preparing ACFT.”
Carpenter said the room originally contained three racquetball courts, but had not been used for that purpose for several years. One of the courts had been renovated several times while the other two remained empty.
“We used the room for group fitness, or a bike room and for our active classes for older adults,” she says.
Designed to provide dynamic training and conditioning using a whole body approach, Functional Fitness had become an army-wide program by the time the decision was made to convert the entire space into a dedicated part of the body. ‘installation.
Rick St. Cyr, project director for the Public Works Project Management Branch, said the first step for his office was to research military standards for fitness facilities and conditioning training physics themselves.
“We combined what the customer wanted with what the military is trying to do and what the code says it’s supposed to be,” he said.
Katy Carter, director of business and recreation, said St. Cyr’s work has paid off.
“He’s the one who made it possible, researching all types of soil, all types of grass, all the things that we have done,” she said. “It posed a lot of challenges, but I think due to the type of group we had, it became what you see, a fantastic, state-of-the-art space.
The renovation project, which began in 2019, demolished almost everything that was not a load-bearing part of the interior.
“They ripped it up to the posts,” Carpenter said.
One thing that did not slow down the project was the COVID-19 pandemic. Work on the project was ongoing even when services were on hold, Carpenter said.
“The construction crew continued,” she says. “The staff and I took turns going every week, and they kept going through COVID the whole time.”
The results were appreciated by several customers who were the first to use the new equipment. Cedric White, a military retiree who is a regular at the gym, said he liked what he saw.
“I like it,” White said. “They’ve done a lot of upgrades and there’s a lot of space.”
Col. Jeff Paine, commander of the US Army Garrison at Fort Leonard Wood, observed that current fitness is firmly rooted in the past.
“If you’ve ever worked with soldiers who grew up on a farm or ranch, they’re probably in really good shape, and it’s not because they come to a place like this. It’s because they lift bales of hay, move things, shovel and do all kinds of hard work, ”he said. “That being said, living in the society we are in, we need things like this.”
Paine added that the facility would benefit not only Soldiers preparing for the AFCT, but all members of the Fort Leonard Wood community as they strive to achieve their fitness goals.
“I am so grateful to be able to provide this to our community of Fort Leonard Wood, including our soldiers, sailors, airman, Marines, family members, retirees and veterans, to be able to. do – because that’s what Functional Fitness is all about. It’s not just about taking a PT test; it’s about being able to live our daily lives and do the things we love, ”he said.
Specker Gym is open from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. holidays.
The installation is located in Bldg. 1714 to 6060 Michigan Ave. For more information, call Specker Gym at 573.596.7377.